Working with fondant

When I started this blog I had no preconceived ideas of getting shed loads of orders in, or making any money from it whatsoever. I was happy enough baking and blogging and anything else would be a bonus.

So, when a friend contacted me and asked if I could make her some engagement cupcakes, I was pleasantly surprised and excited. Then I experienced another feeling altogether. Fear. What if I couldn’t do it? What if they turned out like a dog’s dinner? What if I made them and she refused to accept them because they were so god damn awful?!

I had never worked with fondant before but, luckily, I had over a months’ notice which meant plenty of time to prepare. Which leads me on to my first bit of advice for anyone embarking on something like this…

  1. Prepare! If you have a recipe, designs and all the right equipment before you begin you’ll hugely minimise your chances of things going wrong.
  2. Seek inspiration! My friend had left the designs completely up to me, so my first step was to get on Pinterest and start looking for ideas. And there were plenty!
  3. Pick designs within your skillset. I was under no illusion that I could make a cupcake look like a work of art. However I was confident I could produce some very cute, engagement-themed cupcakes with a bit of flair.
  4. Draw your designs out (they don’t have to be a work of art!) so you have guidelines to work from as you go.
  5. Use plenty of icing sugar when you roll out your icing. This is common sense really but if you don’t do it everything will just stick to your worktop.
  6. Put each fondant decoration in the fridge once it’s done to chill it and give it more structure.
  7. Maintain a delicate hand. Fondant isn’t particularly flimsy, but if you’re too heavy handed you’ll end up squashing your pretty shapes.
  8. Use edible glue! This stuff is brilliant and holds everything in place perfectly. Here’s a link to the one I bought.
  9. Be flexible. Something might not end up going the way you thought it would, so just adapt and try something else.
  10. Give yourself plenty of time. I knew it would take a while to get all my designs sorted and looking the way I wanted them, but I did underestimate just how long I’d spend doing fiddly things like making rings and marking the quilt on the fondant.
  11. Have fun! Above all, just enjoy it and remember the beauty of fondant is that you can just squash it back into a ball, re-roll it and go again!

Here’s how my cupcakes ended up. They’re not perfect by a long shot, but for a first attempt I was pretty chuffed. I had good feedback from the bride-to-be as well, which was as much as I could have hoped for.

Needless to say Oscar just slept through the entire process. At one point I think I actually stood on his tail and he barely flinched. Maybe it was his ‘couldn’t-give-a-shit’ attitude that kept me calm…

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